Serbia Sees a Surge in Migrant Smuggling in 2023 due to EU Border Pushbacks | Beta Briefing

Serbia Sees a Surge in Migrant Smuggling in 2023 due to EU Border Pushbacks

Source: Beta
News / Politics | 02.01.24 | access_time 13:09


Asylum Protection Center (APC) Executive Director Rados Djurovic on Jan. 2 said that in relation to migrant issues, 2023 had been marked with “a steep rise in migrant smuggling”.

In an interview with BETA, Djurovic said that it was “directly due to pushbacks, that is, forcing migrants from Hungary and other EU counties back to Serbia.”  “After climbing over the Hungarian border barrier, they were forced back to Serbia and had to look for smugglers to help them cross the EU border again... Those people had been forced back several times,” Djurovic specified.

According to Djurovic, smugglers had been charging fees per each migrant and each illegal border crossing and that had become a very lucrative job. “This has built up smuggling organizations and led to armed conflicts among migrants in Serbia’s north,” he said, adding that “some local citizens were also engaged in transporting migrants and offering them accommodation.”

He went on to say that in 2023, measures were introduced to reduce the territory for transit of migrants through Serbia to the EU, adding that the EU countermeasures aimed at “slowing down flows of migrants temporarily staying in Serbia.” Djurovic further explained that “those measures include funding border controls, border management and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in Serbia’s territory...”

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